By Caroline Graham and Matt Strudwick and Charlotte Griffiths
11:13 21 Jan 2024, updated 12:41 21 Jan 2024
Prince Harry has been warned to ‘stay away’ from a German ‘prince’, who is accused of using his spurious connections to flog a ‘wealth elixir’, after posing for a selfie with him at an aviation awards ceremony.
The duke was all smiles as he posed with Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe – who was once dubbed the ‘King of Trash TV’ – at the ‘Living Legends of Aviation’ in Los Angeles on Friday night.
Prince Mario-Max website boasts connections stretching back to William of Orange, which would make him a very, very distant cousin of the British Royals.
But his royal connections have been questioned with the head of the family, Prince Alexander of Schaumburg-Lippe, accusing him of ‘harvesting our name for personal gain’ and warning Harry to ‘stay away from this man’.
The 46-year-old was on the German version of Celebrity Big Brother in 2014 where he was evicted after just eight days inside the house, as well as appearing on a shopping channel to sell a ‘wealth elixir’.
The head of the family, Prince Alexander of Schaumburg-Lippe, told The Mail on Sunday last night: ‘It’s very painful for me, this guy has been harvesting our name for his personal gain. Prince Harry cannot stoop lower than appearing with him. I would advise him to stay away from this man. ‘
Mario-Max – who claims he has the right to use the royal title after he was adopted by a distant relative of the family when he was 23 years old – has been dubbed ‘the King of Trash TV’ in the German Press for appearing on the local version of Big Brother, and hawking products on shopping channels including a so-called ‘wealth elixir’.
He is also a regular visitor to America, where he has posed for photos with celebrities including Paris Hilton, Liza Minnelli and Ivana Trump at parties and red-carpet events, and where he once dated one of the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.
On Friday he immediately posted the photo of himself with Prince Harry – as featured on our front page – on social media. It attracted comments including: ‘So cringe. Two irrelevant middle-aged men without serious pursuit using their titles to grift in superficial Hollywood,’ and ‘I’m embarrassed for both of you. This must be a joke.’
Speaking about meeting Harry, Mario-Max told The Mail on Sunday: ‘We had a personal conversation and he was fabulous, very humble, very sweet. It filled me with joy.’
The Duke of Sussex was inducted into the ‘Living Legends of Aviation’ on Friday night where he was asked by host John Travolta about his first flight experience.
He stood to a rapturous applause as he recollected how he was aged seven or eight years old when he excitedly jumped into a Wessex Helicopter.
Harry joked: ‘But then my father jumped in behind me and I was terrified.’ But the duke made no mention of his sister in law Kate Middleton or his father’s medical dramas.
The audience erupted into laughter and applause in response to the prince’s quip with whistling also heard. Someone else can also be heard muttering ‘excellent’.
King Charles joined the Royal Air Force (RAF) in August 1971 where he was trained to fly both a jet and a helicopter.
He had already taken flying lessons at university and was able to fly himself to RAF Cranwell for his first day of training.
After completing training, Charles gained his RAF Wings as Flight Lieutenant Wales. He was the first member of the royal family to gain this award.
Harry attended the ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills last night without wife Meghan Markle, with the Duchess of Sussex having to stay home as one of their children became unwell, the PA news agency reported.
He paid tribute to his mother Diana during his acceptance speech and took a moment to remember the Grease star’s meeting with Diana at a White House dinner for President Ronald Reagan in 1985.
Accepting the award from Travolta, the duke said: ‘I was just a one-year-old when you danced with my mum at the White House and now look at us.’
Harry completed two tours of Afghanistan as a forward air controller and an Apache helicopter pilot, having flown countless training missions in the UK, US and Australia.
He served for 10 years in the military, rising to the rank of Captain, and later founded the Invictus Games – a sporting event for wounded military personnel and veterans.
Harry takes his place alongside other aviation and aerospace ‘legends’ including Buzz Aldrin, Jeff Bezos, Tom Cruise, Neil Armstrong, Harrison Ford, Morgan Freeman and Elon Musk.
The event’s website also praised the duke for his work with charities and organisations including Travalyst, Sentebale, African Parks and WellChild.
A statement on its website said: ‘Prince Harry is a humanitarian, military veteran, mental wellness advocate and environmentalist.
‘He has dedicated his life to advancing causes that he is passionate about and that bring about permanent change for people and places.’
Harry, who was sporting a black velvet tuxedo, was inducted alongside US navy pilot Fred George and former world speed record holder Steve Hinton, as well as Lauren Sanchez – who is engaged to Amazon founder Bezos.
She received the Elling Halvorson Vertical Flight Hall of Fame Award for her skills as a helicopter pilot and aviation businesswoman, having founded aerial filming company Black Ops Aviation in 2016.
The duke’s appearance comes as his father, the King, prepared to undergo treatment for an enlarged prostate next week, while his sister-in-law the Princess of Wales recovers from abdominal surgery in the London Clinic.
Among those congratulating Harry on the award was Prince Mario-Max Schaumburg-Lippe of Germany, who appeared on the Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills.
On Instagram, he said: ‘Congratulations To HRH Prince Harry for his very much deserved Living Legends of Aviation Award… Well Done.’